Sugar Pit Chops

151/18: Sugar Pit Manga Chops

151/18 – Sugar Pit Manga Chops:

I am still working my way through the big Mangalitza chops that I got from Rogers and Son butchers, I have enjoyed some great cooks with these so far and my idea for the next cook was sugar pit manga chops. We had eaten sugar pit pork chops at Chop House in Edinburgh recently and I wanted to recreate that dish.

Sugar Pit Chop

These are the previous Mangalitza cooks:

123/18: Monster Pork Chops

089/18: Mangalitza T-Bone Pork Chops

094/18: Fire Bowl Mangalitza Pork Chops


Massive Managaltiza Pork Chops from Rogers and Son – This is what Olly sent me with the meat:

Your pig is a pedigree blonde mangalitza, bred at Penlan Farm from pure pedigree stock supplied by Christoph and Isabell Wiesner’s farm in Austria. Our pigs live outdoors, and for at least 18 months, to yield meat with outstanding flavour. The pigs are fed a totally natural, soya and GM free diet comprising whey, cheese, fruit, vegetables and brewers’ grains all of which we source locally. The pigs are slaughtered at the small family run Cig Oen Caron abattoir at Tregaron and are transported with great care by Peter Mitchell’s Black Mountain Foods chilled distribution.

The Prep:

I forgot to take a photo of the meat before I started the curing process but here are the chops in the cure. I added 3% of the meat weight in supracure (£5 at Hot Smoked) along with some brown sugar then bagged them in the foodsaver and mixed everything together. The bags were just sealed rather than vac packed. Both bags went into a metal tray then into the fridge and I flipped them over each day.

Sugar Pit Chops

After a week they came out of the cure. Lovely colour on the meat.

Sugar Pit Chops

Next up they went into a sugar pit. Light Muscavado sugar and Dark Muscavado sugar mixed together then spread as a base in the pan and all over the meat. This was wrapped in cling film and left in the fridge for a week before I pulled it out. Check the colour of the meat in the bottom left of the photo.

Sugar Pit Chops

I scraped all the sugar off with a spoon. Oh my goodness!

Sugar Pit Chops

The Cook:

My Weber kettle is dead. The ash catcher broke a while ago and it’s not safe to use it in the hut as hot ash drops out the bottom and I am nervous about burning down the hut! The charcoal grate was warped, the cooking grate needs replacing and the one touch cleaning system was buckled. All in, replacement parts would cost £200 and with new grills at the time going for £209 I didn’t feel it was good value. Since that date Riverside have been selling MT grills for £169 so spending £200 on 4x replacement parts didn’t seem sensible.

Thankfully Napoleon came to my rescue and sent me the wonderful Rodeo Pro 22 grill which has replaced my Weber kettle. I mentioned this grill in my review of the Weber kettle recently and some key features that stood out on this grill are the hinged lid, diffuser, adjustable height grill and the seriously impressive looking cast iron grill (see below). 

For the first cook on the Napoleon grill I fired up a chimney of Oxford Charcoal Oak and spread it over one half of the base of the grill with the diffuser in place to spread the heat. The chops were placed on the indirect side of the grill for an initial slow cook with the fat facing the heat.

Sugar Pit Chops

10 minutes in I flipped them over. The sugar was melting and what a colour on the fat.

Sugar Pit Chops

When the chops hit 50c internal temperature on the Thermapen I moved them across to the direct side to sear. The sugar and fat was causing it to flare up a bit so I kept shutting the lid to keep things calm. Only about a minute per side for the sear.

Sugar Pit Chops

Time to Serve:

Looks a bit dark in this shot but the light wasn’t great, check the close up a few shots down. The egg was a bit over too but close (hopefully!) to the Chop House dish!

Sugar Pit Chops

Glistening in the light, red peeking out.

Sugar Pit Chops

This shot shows it best – glorious!

Sugar Pit Chops


I have wanted to try a sugar pit cure for a while and this was good fun. Great to cook on the Napoleon Rodeo Pro 22 for the first time too, what a cracking bit of kit. Keep an eye on the blog for more cooks on that grill as I can see it getting some good use! Once it’s had a good run of cooks I will write a review up.

The chops were really tasty, the sugar pit cure had really added to the taste of the meat but the searing process had caramelised the sugar for an added flavour boost too! They were slightly tougher than usual which I am thinking is from curing the meat for too long, maybe I would try to cure them for 4 days rather than 7. I am also wondering if I should have flipped the chops in the sugar pit each day so the sugar soaked in both sides, maybe it soaks down easier than it soaks up? Just a thought and one to try.

Overall, a cracking dish and a good bit of fun to cook on the Napoleon Pro too.

Cook Difficulty: 4/5 
Cook Duration: Medium: 3/5
Cook Equipment: Napoleon Rodeo Pro 22
Cook Method: Indirect then Sear
Charcoal: Oxford Charcoal Oak
Smoking Wood: Cherry
Cook temperature: N/A
Cook time: About 30 minutes
Internal temperature: 50C then 60C after the sear (Thermapen)
Notes: 1: Try a shorter curing process.
2: Maybe try smaller but thicker chops.
3: Try flipping the meat in the sugar pit each day too.



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